Welcome to Varsity Sports Network’s 2013 preseason Top 20 girls’ basketball poll. VSN ranks the top teams in the Baltimore region which covers public and private schools in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Cecil County, Harford County and Howard County.
1. Aberdeen (2012-13 record: 25-3; Final VSN Top 20 ranking: No. 2)
Player to watch: Stephanie Jones, So., forward/guard
Free throw: It about the Joneses again as Stephanie, whose big sister Bri (now at University of Maryland) led the Harford County school to its first crown in 2012, will lead the charge for a three-peat. Stephanie will get a ton of help from sophomore Endia Jones (no relation) in the post and junior point guard Kierra Palmer.
2. McDonogh School (22-9; No. 3)
Player to watch: Danielle Edwards, Jr., guard
Free throw: The Eagles are primed to return atop the IAAM A Conference with all five starters back.
3. Poly (22-6; No. 5)
Player to watch: Tierra Pendelton, Sr., forward
Free throw: The Engineers will be on a mission after falling in the Class 4A state finals last season.
4. River Hill (23-4; No. 4)
Player to watch: Julia Collins, Sr., guard
Free throw: The Hawks are hoping the third time is the charm after back-to-back Class 3A state runner-up showings.
5. Milford Mill Academy (23-3; No. 8)
Player to watch: Dionna White, Jr., guard
Free throw: The combination of White and senior Qierra Murray look to help Millers reign supreme again in Baltimore County and get past Aberdeen in the Class 3A North Region.
6. Archbishop Spalding (29-2; No. 1)
Player to watch: Erin Baker, So., guard
Free throw: Despite graduating five starters, the Cavaliers will try to repeat in the IAAM A.
7. City College (23-4; No. 7)
Player to watch: Dyzhanay Burton, Sr., guard
Free throw: Led by College of Charleston commit Burton, the Knights will challenge for supremacy in Baltimore City.
8. Howard (21-4; No. 9)
Player to watch: Sydney Biniak, Sr., center
Free throw: The Lions’ big three of Biniak, junior Jayda Gilmore and senior Emma Hoesman look to take Howard County squad to the Class 4A state final four.
9. Roland Park Country School (16-10; No. 14)
Player to watch: Lindsey Edwards, Jr., guard
Free throw: The Reds could be ready to make a run at the IAAM A crown with Edwards and St. Joseph’s (Pa.) commit Michala Clay headlining 11 returning letter winners.
10. Patterson Mill (20-7; No. 15)
Player to watch: Qalea Ismail, Jr., guard
Free throw: The Huskies are ready for a state title breakthrough after state semifinal losses in 2012 and 2011.
11. St. Mary’s (24-3; No. 13)
Player to watch: Leah Hurst, Sr., guard
Free throw: With Hurst and senior guard Sam Mocniak back, the Saints are the favorite for a repeat in the IAAM B.
12. Reservoir (17-4; No. 11)
Player to watch: Zelor Massaquoi, Sr., forward
Free throw: The Gators will be again a tough out in Howard County and Class 3A East Region.
13. Western Tech (21-6; No. 20)
Player to watch: Sydney Clopton, Sr., guard
Free throw: The Wolverines look to repeat as Class 1A state champions.
14. Severn School (18-6; No. 18)
Player to watch: Maddie McDaniel, So., center
Free throw: With McDaniel and senior guard Emily Gibbons, the Admirals look to deny St. Mary’s in the IAAM B.
15. Notre Dame Prep (14-8; No. 19)
Player to watch: Marissa Varnado, Jr., guard
Free throw: The Blazers will rely on Varnado and defense to contend in the IAAM B.
16. Arundel (15-6; No. 17)
Player to watch: Kayla Green, Sr., guard
Free throw: The Wildcats will challenge for the top spot in Anne Arundel County.
17. South River (21-4; No. 10)
Player to watch: Cassidy Cutlip, Sr., guard
Free throw: The Seahawks look to reload for another run at Anne Arundel crown.
18. Digital Harbor (20-5; No. 6)
Player to watch: Ty Smith, Sr., guard
Free throw: The Rams graduated A’Lexus Harrison (Maryland and Infinti Alston (Penn State), but Smith looks to keep the Rams a force in Baltimore City
19. St. Frances Academy (15-11; No. 12)
Player to watch: Adreoinia Coleman, Sr., forward
Free throw: With Rhode Island recruit Coleman, the Panthers hope to make some noise in the IAAM A.
20. Edgewood (16-3; not ranked)
Player to watch: Ladae Boykin, Sr., center
Free throw: The Rams could be ready to contend in the UCBAC with Boykin headlining four returning starters.